Health Care and what that means

Today I went to a major medical facility for follow-up tests for a pulmonary condition that I have.  Since January of this year I have had to have quite a few tests done and a biopsy that required hospitalization.  The total costs of my medical expenses since January of this year have topped $75,000.  That is an incredible amount of money to most of us, me included.   But none of the procedures were done unnecessarily and none were trivial.  In our case we had health insurance, though it didn’t cover a lot of that amount, and we had never had to go over our set allowance before.   We like most families have our normal health problems and my husband has diabetes, but nothing nearly this expensive before.  We have long since been over our allowance.  What are people suppose to do when they go over their allowance if they don’t have the funds to pay for the care?  Are they suppose to declare themselves well?  I wish!

Now, I understand even more the need for healthcare and a long time hero of mine, Elizabeth Edwards, is a well known advocate for Universal Health Care.   She has loaned her voice to speak for those not heard and is fighting for health care for all. The $75,000 quoted above doesn’t even include any treatment.  It is solely for diagnosis.  I am 100% for health care for all, but I have some concerns that I want to point out and ………………………………………………………………………..discuss.

When we get to the point of discussing health care seriously in the new administration, we must be certain what they are talking about before we start ‘supporting’ their presentation.   I don’t want any ‘assurances’ from anyone that any politician ‘will do the right thing’.   I want more than assurances.  I want it in black and white.   Let me tell you the problems that I see with not having it all nailed down so that citizens can get the healthcare they need.  First, who defines ‘need’ is critical to good care.   The insurance industry certainly defines need quite differently than an seriously ill patient.  Who determines when ‘it’s not worth it’?   The life of an 80 year old is just as important to that 80 year old person as the life of a 30 year old is to them.   No one should say ‘they’ve lived their live and soo….’.  That just shouldn’t happen.  Life is precious at any age.

Then, there is the question of what level of care all of us will receive and will we receive it in a timely manner.   For example, if you were ill with a pulmonary condition and all of your options were used up except for a lung transplant and a transplant donor was available, who would say whether or not that procedure would be covered?  Now, not everyone would be a match for that donor, but in the event there was a match, would it be covered?   I believe it should be if there is a matching donor available.   I am greatly concerned that the government would say, through their red tape, that a person’s life was no longer ‘worth it’.

There are other concerns that I have, which I have heard of occuring in other countries that have health care available.  One of those is the timeliness of medical procedures.  I’ve heard of many having to wait for months to get simple procedures done or test conducted.  That is not acceptable.  These things need to be available in a timely manner to prevent people becoming too ill or conditions or diseases becoming more critical.

Lastly, for now, I am concerned that as soon as health care, regardless of the level, is made available, companies will try to drop their responsibility for health care coverage.   The problem here is that if you now have health care at work and that is discontinued by your company as government run health care is available and you get lesser health care than you have now, is that really helping?  I don’t think so!  If your company paid insurance covers an annual mammogram and your governmental health care won’t, how many million American women will fail to have mammograms due to that lack of coverage?   Equally, how many will fail to have pre-natal care or how many elderly people will not be able to get the medical services they need simply because the government plan doesn’t cover what their company provided insurance plan covered?

What I am trying to say here is don’t be too quick to rah-rah a government provided health care plan without knowing with your own little eyes (not reading someone elses assessment of it) what ‘exactly’ it covers. My mother always talked about cutting off your nose to spite your face and this may just be one of those times.   Remember, they are playing with someone’s life…if not yours, then someone else’s.  We are all responsible for each other and this is a good time to start practicing that responsibility.  We do need health care for all and we need to scrutinize it before we say ‘Yes!’ to a sub-standard plan.

~ by citizenjournalistreview on November 19, 2008.

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